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Illegal Immigrants’ Hope for Amnesty Shattered by Texas Judge

President’s use of executive action on illegal immigration ruled to have inadequately followed proper procedures

Late Monday night, a federal judge from Texas ruled against the President’s use of executive action on illegal immigration, and in favor of the 25 other states that were in opposition. The President created a plan at the end of last year to protect up to 5 million illegal immigrants from facing immediate deportation.

Judge Andrew Hanan cited that the president and his administration failed to entirely comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires the administration to provide a longer comment and notification period. He also added that the program would be a significant financial burden on the states.

The case was filed in a district court with a judge close to the border, in a state that has supported the deportation of immigrants, and to a judge that has historically opposed President Obama’s ideals on immigration.

In a 2014 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, 60% of state residents said that illegal immigrants should be immediately deported from the country, to the 34% that opposed the idea.

The nation as a whole appears fairly evenly split on illegal immigration. A 2015 CNN/ORC poll conducted on the 15th of February found that 49% of the nation believed a plan should be put in place to give immigrants legal residency. Another 49% supported a plan to stop the flow of illegal immigration and deport those currently residing in the states.

Judge Andrew Hanan has never been shy in voicing his opinions on the subject. During a discussion on border patrol, he said, “Their hard work and dedication goes for naught when those in charge create policies that tie their hands.”

Less than one day after the ruling, the president responded by saying, “The law is on our side, and history is on our side.” The White House released a statement that argued that the President’s actions “are well within his legal authority.” They also announced that they plan on appealing the ruling.

The President is adamant that preparation for the program will continue.

He said, “The Department of Homeland Security will continue with the planning because we want to make sure that as soon as these legal issues get resolved – which I anticipate they will, in our favor – that we are ready to go.”

The decision dampens the hopes of thousands of immigrants that believed amnesty was finally within arms reach. The immigration agency was set to upload documents on Wednesday that would have allowed thousands of illegal immigrants to join the President’s program. Now that the program has been put on hold, many immigrants are in a judicial flux.

Laura Foote Reiff, the chairwoman of the National Immigration Forum and immigration adviser for the White House, said that the delay could halt all of the executive action-reliant programs by at least 6-12 months.

Although executive action is intended to be used in moderation, it is the only way that illegal immigrants will benefit from any federal legislation as the chances of a Republican-controlled Congress passing any pro-immigration policies are slim to none.

The president expressed his frustration towards the overall conflict over immigration reform between his administration and Congress. He recently commented on Congressional threats to defund the Department of Homeland Security, and how it would impact immigration policies further.

“With a new Congress, my hope has been that they now get serious in solving the problem,” said President Obama. “Instead, Congress has made threats to defund the Department of Homeland Security, which would make it even harder for us to protect our border and keep our people safe.”